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Jim Cox Report: July 2012
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
Words are important in how things are described. They can caste something in a positive or negative light. For example, in the political sphere we've seen "Inheritance Tax" replaced in the political vocabulary with "Death Taxes". This 'name change' had a dramatic impact upon public perception and consequent federal tax policy.
The same nomenclature phenomena is to be found in the publishing industry. With the growing popularity and ease with which authors can turn their manuscripts into finished books simply by writing a check to a Publish On Demand (POD) company, or following such instructive 'how to' manuals as "Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book" or"The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book" by Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier, the term 'self published' came into widespread usage -- with a consequently commonly encountered problem.
There were so many 'self published' books coming into the market that had serious flaws in them that the term 'self published' became fairly synonymous with 'substandard'. So much so that most professional book review publications and reviewers, book wholesalers and distributors, and bookstore retailers, would not consider a self-published book. This prejudice against self published titles continues to this very day.
But there is an antidote to that discriminatory reflex. A simple change of wording. I recommended that the term "Self Published" should be replaced with the term "Privately Published" in all book marketing related materials -- and most especially in book reviews.
Every month I receive a handful of books with no publisher name identified. They are almost invariably the first time product of someone brand new to the publishing process and obviously self published. In these cases I take the initiative of plugging in the descriptive term "Privately Published" after Title and Author in the review's "information block" at the head of the review because our review of the book deemed it to be recommendable to its intended readership and to try to avoid (or at least minimize) the discrimination that has grown up around the term "Self Published" while giving potential customers for the book all the contact information they will need to obtain it.
I advise all self-published authors who have not created their own publisher's imprint, and all those who are not stuck with a POD publisher identification (i.e. AuthorHouse, PublishAmerica, iUniverse, Trafford, Xlibris, etc.) to do the same.
Now on to reviews of new "how to" books on writing and/or publishing:
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
The Naked Author
80 Maiden Lane, Suite 704
NY, NY 10038
9781408139820, $22.95, www.amazon.com
In "The Naked Author: A Guide to Self-Publishing", author Alison Baverstock draws upon her many years of experience and expertise as a Course Leader for MA Publishing at Kingston university to create a 378-page compendium providing aspiring writers with a complete 'do-it-yourself' workshop on how to turn a manuscript into a book while comporting their writing and publishing activities professionally and profitably. Of special note are the chapters focusing on defining the scope of a writing/publishing project; when and why to seek editorial support; commissioning images and illustrations; and self-publishing ebooks. "The Naked Author provides a complete 'how to' guide for marketing (including copywriting) that will prove of exceptional value for the novice. Practical, comprehensive, useful and user friendly, "The Naked Author" will prove to be an exceptional and detailed introduction, as well as having an enduring value as a professional reference for even the more experienced self-published authors.
A Year of Writing Dangerously
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608680511, $16.95, www.newworldlibrary.com
Writing is something that must be committed to. "A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement" is a collection of inspirational writings from Barbara Abercrombie who explores the nature of writing and shares her experiences and insights for those who want to embrace their creative side and with insights from writers of all levels, from the novice to the Nobel prize winners. "A Year of Writing Dangerously" is a strong pick for writing inspiration and motivational collections.
In addition to my own reviews of the above two titles, I also want to share with you a review by one of our reviewers -- Peggy Tibbetts:
Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing for the Young Adult Market
Prufrock Press Inc.
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
Billed as a second edition, "Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing for the Young Adult Market" is for advanced YA writers, and "Wild Ink: How to Write Fiction for Young Adults" (first edition) is for beginning YA writers. In the first edition award-winning author and writing instructor Victoria Hanley tells you how to get started. In the second edition she tells you how to keep going. Hanley uses examples from the classic "Pride and Prejudice" and the popular bestseller "The Hunger Games" to explore the fine points of novel writing. Other topics included are nonfiction, agents, traditional publishing, self-publishing, and marketing, all of which show writers how to take their writing to the next level. The final 80 pages of interviews provide a fascinating look at the insight and craft of dozens of today's YA fiction and nonfiction authors, which you will revisit often. If you have the first draft of your manuscript in your hands, you need this book.
Finally we have "The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" roster of well-wishers and supporters. These are the generous folk who decided to say 'thank you' and 'support the cause' that is the Midwest Book Review by donating postage stamps this past month:
Donald W. Kruse
Mark Kelley -- "Rain of Ruin"
Carl G. Ferrel -- "A Perfect Lawn?"
Yulia Handy -- "Legends of Scythia"
Dennis Vebert -- "The Color of Life"
John Arlington Nuctzel -- "Telephoto"
Michael S. Broder -- "Stage Climbing"
Stephen G. MacDonald -- "War Stories"
Guy Butler -- "Balls of Leather and Steel"
Cynthia & Ron Cooke -- "Angel's Footpath"
Belinda Vasquez Garcia -- "Reincarnation: The Witch Narratives"
Absolute Love Publishing
Light Messages Publishing
On Your Own Publishing Company
Steve Thieme -- Inkwater Press
Vivian Zabel -- 4RV Publishing
Suzanne Cone -- Ivy Court Press
Roseanne Ritzema -- Presa Press
Jason Gridley -- Gresham & Doyle
Diana Faulhaber -- Eat Right Press
Tracy Richardson -- Luminis Books
John Hager -- Greenstone Publishing
Rebecca J. Ensign -- Gold Leaf Press
Theresa M. Flaherty -- Turas Publishing
Harvey Gotliffe -- Cogitator Publications
Frances Wilkins -- Memory Minder Journals
John R. Guevin -- Biographical Publishing Company
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Maryglenn McCombs -- MM Book Publicity
If you have postage to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those stamps (always appreciated, never required), or a published copy of that book (no galleys, uncorrected proofs, or Advance Reading Copies), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release to my attention at the address below.
All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website. If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.
So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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